Foreclosure and Loan Modification Resources
This spring marks a critical juncture for two of the California Attorney General’s key foreclosure prevention initiatives: the National Mortgage Settlement and the Homeowner Bill of Rights. These events will provide an opportunity for advocates, legal aid attorneys, housing counselors, judges, and private attorneys to learn about these initiatives.
April 2013 also marks one year from the court approval of the National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) and six months from the effective date of its mortgage servicing standard reforms. The Settlement applies to Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Ally/GMAC. This event series will present the progress and challenges of the first year of the NMS and feature:
- Consumer Relief delivered under the NMS
- Servicing Standards progress
- California Monitor Program's Initiatives
The Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR) became effective on Jan. 1, 2013. HBOR codifies in state law the broad intentions of the NMS pre-foreclosure protections. It represents a dramatic change to California’s foreclosure process and will present obstacles and opportunities for homeowners and industry. The forum will provide participants with:
- Overview of HBOR law
- Resources for HBOR litigation
- Synthesis of HBOR with NMS, CFPB servicing rules, and other laws
The California Monitor Program, with sponsorship from The State Bar of California and the Federal Reserve Board, will be hosting this event at the following three locations:
About the Office of Legal Services
As the housing crisis evolves, the need for legal assistance to homeowners in or on the verge of foreclosure, as well as tenants in foreclosed properties, will be ongoing. The Office of Legal Services is exploring ways to educate housing advocates about foreclosure prevention and mitigation while encouraging pro bono attorneys to provide much needed legal services for California's distressed homeowners and tenants.
National Mortgage Settlement Funds
The California Department of Justice is offering $10.4 million in grants from the National Mortgage Settlement proceeds to organizations with proposals for designing and developing innovative, scalable and sustainable approaches for helping California families dealing with a foreclosure crisis. The Attorney General’s office will award two types of grants:
- Consumer Assistance Grants: About $9 million in funds
- Homeowner Bill of Rights Implementation Grant: About $1 million in funds
Past Foreclosure Prevention and Mitigation Forums
In an effort to mitigate the harm to Californians from the foreclosure crisis, the State Bar's Office of Legal Services, in partnership with legal services programs and housing agencies, convened a series of five Foreclosure Prevention and Mitigation Forums throughout Northern and Southern California since 2009:
Burbank: December 2009
- San Francisco: February 2010
- Fresno: June 2010
Ontario: March 2011
Sacramento: December 2011
The purpose of each forum was to provide current foreclosure information to legal services advocates and pro bono attorneys in an effort to equip them with the tools necessary to assist Californians in need of legal assistance. The forums provided legal training on a variety of topics, including foreclosure prevention, loan modification, collaboration, and eviction defense under newly-enacted federal legislation. The forums also provided a unique opportunity for participants to network with colleagues and share ideas about how to mitigate the devastating effect of foreclosure in California communities.
If you are interested in receiving any of the previous forum materials please contact Michael Dayao at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The State Bar's Offices of Legal Services produces a number of live MCLE programs for pro bono attorneys in conjunction with the Practising Law Institute (PLI) on topics directly and indirectly related to foreclosure. Over 3,000 Californian attorneys have taken these free trainings. The State Bar helped to develop the following free video training programs that can be found through the Practising Law Institute (PLI):
The State Bar also co-produced past programs on mortgage servicing abuses and fair housing, chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, consumer rights in homeowner associations, defending subprime mortgage foreclosures, redlining and predatory lending, and defending unlawful detainers.
To ask for ethics information, including the parameters of what is permissible in loan modification practice call the Ethics Hotline at 800-238-4427
The hotline is offered by the State Bar's Office of Professional Competence to provide assistance for attorneys in maintaining their professional responsibilities.
Other ethics resources:
Legal Services to Distressed Homeowners and Foreclosure Consultants on Loan Modifications
Prohibition on advance fees:
FAQs regarding Senate Bill No. 94: Prohibition on Advance Fees and Required Notice
The Office of Chief Trial Counsel
To complain about a lawyer's role in loan modification or to file a complaint about a lawyer call the Office of Chief Trial Counsel Intake line at 800-843-9053 (inside California). The Office of Chief Trial Counsel focuses on misconduct in providing loan modification services. They receive complaints from the intake 800 number, by mail, and through referrals from the Attorney General's Office, local District Attorneys Offices, and other collaborating agencies. After filing a complaint against a lawyer, a consumer might qualify to file for reimbursement from the Client Security Fund. The Fund reimburses up to $50,000 for thefts by a lawyer. It covers money or property lost because a lawyer was dishonest (not because the lawyer acted incompetently or failed to take a certain action).
Complaints about lenders
Americans for Fairness in Lending helps consumers file complaints with the agencies that regulate their loans. AFFIL is a coalition of consumer, labor, retiree, investor, community and civil rights organizations.
Complaints about real estate brokers
The Department of Real Estate has complaint forms for consumers to file against a business and its owners.
Complaints about scams
The California Office of the Attorney General prosecutes businesses that have engaged in loan modification fraud.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.
Keep Your Home California is a federally funded program to help California homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages. California has received nearly $2 billion in federal funding and is working with housing counselors, services and housing advocates to provide assistance that will help prevent avoidable foreclosures and keep Californians in their homes. Full details on the program are available at KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org
(an official program of the Departments of the Treasury & Housing and Urban Development)
Making Home Affordable (MHA) ® is the Obama Administration's initiative that helps struggling homeowners get mortgage relief through a variety of programs that aid in mortgage modifications, interest rate reductions, refinancing, deferred payment or transitioning out of your home while avoiding foreclosure. Before you begin, please explore the available programs and learn more about MHA. The more you understand your options, the easier it will be when you speak to a housing expert or your mortgage servicer.